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Start with a Seedling

Start with a Seedling is a unique intergenerational program that brings together community volunteer [ ... ]

Birding classic

Bennett Fall Birding Classic returns on September 29 Each autumn for the last 23 years, Island Natu [ ... ]

by Annette Campbell

Running between the raindrops, I dashed through a cold and dreary evening. Shaking the rain off my coat, I headed up the stairs at the MacKenzie Theatre, my mind filled with questions and facts to check. Half-way up the stairs, I stopped, listened, and all of the tensions of the day melted away as I heard a collection of children's voices sweetly singing "O Holy Night." It was then that I remembered a simple truth: you can actually hear the spirit of Christmas in the sound of a children's choir.

Don Fraser was putting the chorus through its paces, getting ready for the Confederation Centre's annual Sing Noel concert. They started practicing this material in early October and now the December 17 concert date is fast approaching. After several minutes of polishing a song or two, Don dismissed the choir and sat down with me for a chat.

The Children's Chorus has a proud and lengthy history. Beginning in 1970 as a Boys' Choir, it has grown through the years to its present format-60 boys and girls from the ages of 8 to 16. "It is almost like a small conservatory," explains Fraser, "we have more rehearsal time than a school choir would have, so we can do repertoire that most kids would not see until university." The concert program bears him out. After several traditional, "audience sing-along" carols, the choir will tackle challenging arrangements of English, French and German songs, including "Coventry Carol," "Ding, Dong, Merrily on High," and "In Dulci Jubilo." The Confederation Centre's mandate to promote Canadian art is also upheld as pieces arranged by Keith Bissell and Healy Willan figure prominently in the program. There is definitely something here for everyone, from the most knowledgeable choral enthusiast to the weary Christmas shopper.

Not surprisingly, this is just the beginning of a busy season for the Chorus. As many of the excited choristers informed me, the choir is going "on tour" in late April to Washington D.C. The trip promises to be an inspiring one; a major highlight will be a performance at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the largest cathedrals in North America and the site of JFK's funeral. "It's definitely the biggest building I've ever performed in," confides Fraser, "It should be a wonderful experience."

Wanting to get another perspective, I spoke with several choir members. A lively bunch, they all agreed that it was a love for singing that drew them to the group. "That, plus the trips," one confessed. "Why should people come to your concert?" I slyly asked them. After the inevitable "because we're great!" answer, Crystal Robertson, a student from Colonel Grey High School, spoke up: "I think it's good for people to see what kids our age can do. We're the biggest children's chorus on the Island and it's a great chance for people to see us learning in progress." So when the hustle of the season takes over your life, come to the Confederation Centre at 3 pm on December 17 and let these burgeoning singers remind you what Christmas is all about.

Photo:The Confederation Centre Children's Chorus prepares for their annual Sing Noel concert under the direction of Don Fraser

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

The Bruce Guthro Songwriters Circle

November 3
Delta Prince Edward The Bruce Guthro Songwriters Circle, presenting Maritime legends and  [ ... ]

Dancing with the Stars

Hospice PEI’s event celebrates 7th year October 20
Murphy Community Centre October 20, 2018  [ ... ]

Trailside Café 2018

Select dates
Trailside Café  Nick Doneff | September 28 Nick Doneff has won a large PEI follo [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Filmworks Summerside

Film series is back for 7th season Filmworks Summerside opens for their 7th season on September 12  [ ... ]

An Island wish

On August 23, 4 year old Cooper Coughlin will arrive on Prince Edward Island soil for a once in a li [ ... ]